‘Just nonsense’: China disses US official for dart over Sino-India border tension

China reacted angrily to US official Alice Wells remarks that spoke of a pattern in Beijing’s conduct in handling differences over South China Sea and the boundary dispute with India
Indian and Chinese soldiers were involved in a tense face-off along the India-China boundary earlier this month(AP File Photo)
Indian and Chinese soldiers were involved in a tense face-off along the India-China boundary earlier this month(AP File Photo)
Updated on May 21, 2020 05:48 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, Beijing | By Sutirtho Patranobis

China on Thursday said it was “just nonsense” that the US was weighing in on the recent Sino-India border tension, adding that its soldiers were within its rights to deal with what Beijing claimed, were boundary infringements by India troops..

The Chinese foreign ministry said there were established communication channels between India and China and the USA should steer clear.

The angry remark was directed at Alice G. Wells, an Asia-focussed US diplomat, who had cited tension at some places in Sikkim and Ladakh over the last few days that she said, signalled China’s “provocations and disturbing behaviour”.

Indian and Chinese border troops have been involved in standoffs earlier this month near the Sikkim and Ladakh borders, part of the long boundary dispute involving the two neighbours.

Alice G. Wells, the outgoing head of the US state department’s South and Central Asia bureau, had referenced these reports.

“This is a reminder that Chinese aggression is not always rhetorical and whether it’s in the South China Sea or whether it’s along the border with India, we continue to see provocations and disturbing behaviour by China that raises questions about how China seeks to use its growing power,” the US official had said.

Wells’ remarks were picked up by the Chinese foreign ministry for censure on Thursday. In the process, spokesperson Zhao Lijian also repeated that it was the Indian side that had trespassed.

“The (US) diplomat’s remarks are just nonsense. China’s position on the China-India boundary issue is consistent and clear. China’s border troops (were) firmly safeguard China’s territorial sovereignty and security and firmly dealt with the Indian side’s cross over and infringement activities,” Zhao said on Thursday at the regular ministry briefing.

Chinese troops, he said, “firmly” safeguard the peace and stability in the border region.

“We urge the Indian side to work together with us, abide by our leadership’s important consensus, comply with the agreements signed, refrain from unilateral actions complicating the situation,” the spokesperson said.

“We hope they will make concrete efforts for peace and tranquility in the border region. There are consultations and diplomatic channels between the two sides that have nothing to do with the USA,” Zhao added.

In the Galwan Valley region of the Ladakh sector, China’s People’s Liberation Army had brought in reinforcements, pitched close to 100 tents and erected temporary positions as part of efforts to establish a presence there. The Indian side had responded by raising the presence of its soldiers.

The latest rounds of face-off between Indian and Chinese border troops were seemingly resolved at the level of the local commanders, and were not allowed to escalate.

But analysts have indicated that there may be more such incidents, particularly since both sides are expected to build more infrastructure and facilities and fortify or repair existing ones along the long border in summer.

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